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Picasso / Cycling Race

The cast:

ANNOUNCER
Eric Idle
BAXTER
Michael Palin
VICKY
Eric Idle
REG MOSS
Eric Idle
GEPPO
Graham Chapman
TRENCH
John Cleese
PEPPERPOT
Michael Palin

The sketch:

Announcer: And now for more news of the momentous artistic event in which Pablo Picasso is doing a specially commissioned painting for us whilst riding a bicycle. Pablo Picasso - the founder of modern art - without doubt the greatest abstract painter ever... for the first time painting in motion. But first of all let's have a look at the route he'll be taking.

(Cut to Raymond Baxter type standing in front of map. A small cardboard cut-out of Picasso's face is on map and is moved around to illustrate route.)

Baxter: Well Picasso will be starting, David, at Chichester here, he'll then cycle on the A29 to Fontwell, he'll then take the A272 which will bring him on to the A3 just north of Hindhead here. From then on Pablo has a straight run on the A3 until he meets the South Circular at Battersea here. Well, this is a truly remarkable occasion as it is the first time that a modern artist of such stature has taken the A272, and it'll be very interesting to see how he copes with the heavy traffic round Wisborough Green. Vicky.

(Cut to Vicky, holding a bicycle.)

Vicky: Well Picasso will be riding his Viking Super Roadster with the drop handlebars and the dual-thread wheel-rims and with his Wiley-Prat 20-1 synchro-mesh he should experience difficulties on the sort of road surfaces they just don't get abroad. Mitzie.

(Cut to linkman at desk with Viking on one side and a knight in amour on the other.)

Announcer: And now for the latest report on Picasso's progress over to Reg Moss on the Guildford by-pass.

(Reg Moss standing with hand mike by fairly busy road.)

Reg: Well there's no sign of Picasso at the moment, David. But he should be through here at any moment. However I do have Geppo with me, Mr. Ron Geppo, British Cycling Sprint Champion and this year's winner of the Derby-Doncaster rally.

Geppo: (in full cyclist's kit.) Well Reg, I think Pablo should be all right provided he doesn't attempt anything on the monumental scale of some of his earlier paintings, like Guernica or Mademoiselles d'Avignon or even his later War and Peace murals for the Temple of Peace chapel at Vallauris, because with this strong head wind I don't think even Doug Timpson of Manchester Harriers could paint anything on that kind of scale.

Reg: Well, thank you Ron. Well, there still seems to be no sign of Picasso, so I'll hand you back to the studio.

Announcer: Well, we've just heard that Picasso is approaching the Tolworth roundabout on the A3 so come in Sam Trench at Tolworth.

Trench: (Standing at roadside) Well something certainly is happening here at Tolworth roundabout, David. I can now see Picasso, he's cycling down very hard towards the roundabout, he's about 75-50 yards away and I can now see his painting... it's an abstract... I can see some blue some purple and some little black oval shapes... I think I can see...

A Pepperpot comes up and nudges him.

Pepperpot: That's not Picasso - that's Kandinsky.

Trench: (excited) Good lord, you're right. It's Kandinsky. Wassily Kandinsky, and who's this here with him? It's Braque. Georges Braque, the Cubist, painting a bird in flight over a cornfield and going very fast down the hill towards Kingston and... (cyclists pass in front of him) Piet Mondrian - just behind, Piet Mondrian the Neo-Plasticist, and then a gap, then the main bunch, here they come, Chagall, Max Ernst, Miro, Dufy, Ben Nicholson, Jackson Pollock and Bernard Buffet making a break on the outside here, Brancusi's going with him, so is Gericault, Fernarid Leger, Delaunay, De Kooning, Kokoschka's dropping back here by the look of it, and so's Paul Klee dropping back a bit and, right at the back of this group, our very own Kurt Schwitters..

Pepperpot: He's German!

Trench: But as yet absolutely no sign of Pablo Picasso, and so from Tolworth roundabout back to the studio.

(Toulouse-Lautrec pedals past on a child's tricycle. Cut back to studio.)

Announcer: Well I think I can help you there Sam, we're getting reports in from the AA that Picasso, Picasso has fallen off... he's fallen off his bicycle on the B2127 just outside Ewhurst, trying to get a short cut through to Dorking via Peaslake and Goreshall. Well, Picasso is reported to be unhurt, but the pig has a slight headache. And on that note we must say goodnight to you. Picasso has failed in his first bid for international cycling fame. So from all of us here at the 'It's the Arts' studio, it's goodnight. (pig's head appears over edge of desk; linkman gently pushes it back) Goodnight.

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